The much-anticipated return of the University of Michigan student body has swept over Ann Arbor. Traffic lights become more decoration than law as the pedestrians become the dominant source of traffic control, while most cars contain new or returning students rushing around to buy tall-twin bedsheets and colorful, economical storage units. Amidst the I find myself reminded of the inherent distraction that college social life can cause. It's not entirely unhealthy for the typical student, to whom a week or so of meeting, greeting, and eating can be a therapeutic break from the tiresome norm. Alas, I am not, by those standards, a typical student.
For starters, I love my work. Not like, love. Like one would love a soul mate. I frequently ask myself how sound design can possibly be a career when it feels so little like a job. Sound design is my primary area of study, though, and this semester I am preparing designs for a theatre performance which will be my senior thesis project. I have been working for quite a while already on this project and lately I have noticed that I am very easily distracted by all that is going on around me. Between packing up my room, preparing to move, eating, working on (or even thinking about) other projects and seeing old friends, I have very little time to sit down and tackle the designs that I ought to be churning out by now.
I wish I could say that there exists a reliable process to creating a soundscape or sound effect sequence, but no such scientific method exists. Like most arts, the creative process for sound design is often based so much on spontaneous inspiration and/or resources at hand, so if my mind is focusing on plans for the evening, edits for my long-overdue movie mix, the excruciating 5 days it has been since I have taken a run, or emails from my parents about grad schools then I have very little capacity remaining to think creatively. Unfortunately, such seemingly trivial things in my life take a serious toll on my workflow.
And the biggest culprit of all? Sleep habits. Yes, the body pillow and I seem to have shorter and shorter cuddle sessions. I definitely shouldn't be writing this at 4am, but that's my cycle. It does not help my brain function and I know it, I feel it daily. Unfortunately, I often do not have the spine to deny my friends' and girlfriend's invitations to extend the bedtime. I know they couldn't possibly understand how strongly I feel about sleep, but sometimes I just do not have the will power to "get all serious" and explain it to them. There we go, it's a goal.
Lesson: don't ignore sleep. It's the best medicine and the most reliable brainstorm-recharger.
I leave you with one of the cues that I have worked hard on for the diver. If you can, try to listen on headphones or on a good speaker system.
Dive Sample 2 by mattglenn